I’ve always wondered about heaven’s reaction when Jesus was born on earth. What was the Father thinking? Did He look over at Jesus’ empty throne? Were the angels rejoicing? Or were they silent with wonder? The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, but we do have a small clue.
Our key verse is short, but it offers a powerful image. The word Peter used for “look” means “to bend over to look intently.” Can you picture it with me – tens of thousands of angels bending over the edge of heaven to gaze upon the Son of God in human flesh? The One who, with the Father and the Spirit, created the first human being had now become one of them. The omnipotent was now a helpless infant, subject to cold and hunger and pain. The One who provided all men with all things now needed a young woman to provide for Him. He who called the light forth now squinted His eyes at the brightness of Joseph’s lantern. He had spoken the animals into being; now they were His only companions at His birth.
No doubt they marveled at the sight before them, but they were in awe for the purpose of it all. The Sovereign Lord God Almighty sent His One and Only Son to pay the penalty for humanity’s sin. They had always known that God is complete love, they had experienced that love for themselves. But grace. Grace was something foreign to them. These creatures had rejected and abandoned their Creator; they deserved destruction. But God offered forgiveness and was willing to accept these rebellious humans. To the angels it was extraordinary – they recognized the greatness of God’s offer. Peter said they “eagerly desired” this know grace. It is a gift only human beings can receive.
This Christmas Day, as you unwrap presents and embrace loved ones, consider with fresh eyes the gift of God’s grace. It is, in fact, the true heart of Christmas.